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Hot For Window Washers

Lara Katz

Weston, CT

Pierrepont School


CAS for Database

It's a Tuesday and you're sitting in a diner on the fourth floor

Of a hotel, sucking chocolate ice cream out a curlicued straw

A shade of vermillion too good to be real. You feel the ice chips

Snaking sharply down your throat, along with sugar, butter,

Fat. Like honeybees the shiny youths swarm, harnessed and blond

Hair greased back to the napes of their necks, bright white t-shirts

Clinging to the chests of those gorgeous men who climb buildings

For livings. Neon yellow vests flung over shoulders. Thin hips

Bound by jangling tool belts. Eyes cutting blue. Oh, your

Own blue jeans are growing tight as you run a shaking hand

Over the peach fuzz you wish were a mustache. You dream

Of the bold soaps pouring down the too thick glass just beyond

Your periphery one day greasing your ass, that the windows’

Gleam will pale in comparison to your own eyes’ glint, that

The straw between your soft uncalloused lips won't be the only

Thing you suck. Your head cannot help but raise and turn to

Gaze, your upper lip damp, at the young bodies gyrating against

The glazed, crystalline panes so thin you can hear the squeaking

Of the wipers, but not thin enough for your outward thrust

Palm to feel anything more than a fleeting warmth, a flash of

Heat in your hand. In broad, painterly strokes, one rouged urchin

Beats away the suds just inches in front of you. There's a flick

Of the wrist, and a glance, half-grinning, half-distracted, half-

By accident, you are sure, for you have realized, distantly, these

Windows are tinted taupe and green, and of you he would only

See a half-formed figure, neither girl nor woman and certainly

Nothing male. You are but a ghost to the window washers, even

As their bodies sashay before you, laboring, gloriously out of grasp,

Displayed for your body to yearn for but never reach, as long as

Your vision still sings with grime and they, risking all, clean for cash.


"Hot for Window Washers" adds breathtaking depth to a quintessentially plebeian encounter. Through thoughtful and seriously impressive poetic narrative, the speaker elucidates both their fears and their desires, what frees and simultaneously binds them. It is the sort of piece that, ultimately, enlightens us a little bit more about the complex machinations of the human mind and heart.


Lara Katz is a high school senior. Her writing appears in the Alexandria Quarterly, Teen Ink’s print magazine, the Bookends Review, and other publications. She is also the winner of Princeton University’s 2019 Leonard Milberg ‘53 Poetry Prize and a semifinalist in the 2019 Smith College High School Girls Poetry Contest. She loves curling, Latin, and not following recipes.

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